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Sugar Bowl reaction: Florida fans amped for 'Charlie Strong Bowl'

A showdown between Florida and their former defensive coordinator has Florida fans excited, but wary of playing a team with nothing to lose.

Andy Lyons

The Florida Gators came into Sunday knowing they were headed to the Sugar Bowl, and thinking they would see a the Oklahoma Sooners there — given the Northern Illinois Huskies didn't bust the BCS. But that's exactly what happened, so Florida fans had a few less hours to digest their impending Sugar Bowl meeting with the Louisville Cardinals.

But the story lines emerged almost immediately at Alligator Army, where the term "Charlie Strong Bowl" was in full effect.

Louisville's success right now is all thanks to Charlie Strong. The former Florida defensive coordinator was the good soldier for so long for the Gators...

But Strong's greatest success came after earning two rings in Gainesville: He has done a superb job bringing the Cardinals back from the crater that Steve Kragthorpe left

With the possibility that Strong's rising stock could take him away from the game entirely, other important things to watch were quickly developed. The bloggers' minds turned quickly to the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide, who dropped the Sugar Bowl to a non-AQ darling Utah Utes team even though they just missed out on a title shot.

The bloggers wanted no part of that situation against the Big East's Cardinals, but knew they would be tested.

Louisville is playing for the pride every team plays for in a bowl, sure. But Louisville, which rarely plays an SEC team that isn't Kentucky, is also playing to prove that it belongs at a big table with the big boys, and the dozens of Florida players on the Louisville roster are playing to prove something to the Sunshine State's current behemoth.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.